Councils are prepared for a potential rise in fly-tipping as they introduces charges at their household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).
Local authorities including the Dorset Waste Partnership, Re3’s three-council waste management partnership, Hampshire and Surrey county councils are all introducing charges for construction waste in the next month.
Hampshire waste firm Hippo warned of an increase in rogue traders offering to take waste from residents’ homes because using an HWRC might become “too much time, effort and money”.
It said residents who unknowingly use an unlicensed operator to take care of their waste were at risk of facing charges themselves due to duty of care requirements.
Managing director Gareth Lloyd-Jones said: “These changes in public waste disposal are causing a big shift in how households can get rid of their waste.
“At Hippo we see it as our responsibility, alongside others in the waste industry, to not only educate households as to how to legally and safely dispose of their rubbish, but also to ensure that the services we offer evolve to meet the new needs of residential customers.”
But the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (Larac) said the councils which are introducing charges will have factored in a potential increase in rogue traders and fly-tipping to their decision to do so.
Larac chief executive Lee Marshall said: “Most [councils] would then look at it and say ‘well, if we are going to make this change, then it needs to be well communicated. Not just the fact that we are bringing it in but potentially the obligations householders have, such as duty of care’.”
According to research by Leicester City Council, which is currently considering introducing HWRC charges, “the general consensus [from other local authorities] is that an increase [in fly-tipping] is likely”.
Most of the councils introducing charges have said continued budget cuts from central Government drove their decision.
Earlier this year, Larac chair Andrew Bird repeatedly warned that councils would have to do “less with less” rather than simply finding efficiency savings.
Now Marshall said: “It is a case of local authorities looking more and more at what they can and can’t charge for.
“Charging for HWRCs and charging for garden waste we understand may be unpopular, but at least it is a way of keeping the service operating.
“Potentially it is a case of, well, if we don’t charge for it, the service might have to go”.